How to make rules that people will follow
Businesses are having to make a lot of decisions and impose a lot of rules right now. Maybe it’s rules to keep customers safe, to make sure employees are well taken care of, or perhaps to be in compliance with state and local laws to help control the pandemic. Or all of the above. Every public-facing business has had to introduce a change of rules and new protocols.
- Give people a reason to follow
There was a church with a beautiful lawn in a park-like setting that local residents enjoyed walking their dogs. Unfortunately not all dog lovers are responsible parents of their fur-babies and were leaving piles of dog poop around which became a problem for the church. They put up signs asking people to pick up after their dogs. It didn’t help. They added signs that warned of a fine if they didn’t pick up after their dog. Have you ever seen that enforced? Most people know that’s an idle threat so as you might expect, the signs and threat of a fine were ignored. Until someone had an idea. Signs were posted that said, “Children play here. Please pick up after your dog.”
- Eliminate confusion
I sat outside a retail store the other day watching a young lady try to manage customers entering the store. There was one set of double doors to enter the store and one set of double doors to exit the store. All in an attempt to count and manage how many people were in the store at one time to keep everyone socially distant. To enter the store, there was a designated pathway, sort of a rope-line as you would see at an airport TSA. Simple enough it seems. It’s not like we haven’t seen it before.
- Provide an explanation
In another instance I sat at a table enjoying a cappuccino, or should I say trying to enjoy, as customer after customer tried to enter a store in front of me that had the entrance locked. No sign as to why the door was locked. Once again, it was a means to control how many people are in the store by limiting access to one entrance where someone can count. That’s simple enough.
People will likely follow along if you explain it. Put a sign on the door explaining as much. In this case, they needed a sign that read, “Please enter on the first floor where we can count how many customers we are serving to keep you safe.” They also weren’t doing themselves any favors because if you didn’t see customers through the glass doors you might assume they were closed. A simple explanation and perhaps signage goes a long way.
- Get everyone on the same side
A salesperson in a men’s clothing store was explaining to me the strict rules they have about trying on clothes. The fitting rooms are closed and now the sales people have been asked to not allow people to try things on in the store. Apparently, some guys are just dropping their pants and trying things on right there on the sales floor. Furthermore, they are not allowing customers to try anything on over their clothes that requires sliding it over your face, such as a sweater that you might want to try on over a shirt. He mentioned that customers are really getting agitated.
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